Within the last thirty years the practice of medicine has become an enormously more complex undertaking, and during that period the increase in legal problems relating to medical practice has tended to parallel the general enlargement of the field. Prior to 1910, the patient-physician relationship was a relatively simple one. Since then, the legal aspects of this relationship have been complicated by many changes, including the practice of dividing the responsibility for the diagnosis or the care of patients with other physicians, with technicians or with nurses; the advent of group practice, of health insurance and of contract practice; the growing number of circumstances in which the physician examines but does not treat, as in the examination of insured persons, of employees, of school children, of claimants of pensions, of claimants of damages for personal injury and of persons accused of crimes; the increase in the number of physicians
SMITH HW. LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: I. THE LEGAL MATRIX OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE. JAMA. 1941;116(10):942–947. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.62820100002009
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